Jordan Karubian


CV February 2018 | Google Scholar Profile

Phone: (504) 865-5549

Office: Israel 306

Mail: 6823 Saint Charles Avenue
         Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
         400 Lindy Boggs Center
         New Orleans, LA 70118-5698



Graduate Students


Sarah Khalil, Ph.D. Candidate


I am interested in exploring what controls variation in carotenoid-based plumage of red-backed fairywrens (Malurus melanocephalus) within and between populations. My research focuses on taking an integrative approach to study the evolution of visual sexual signals in fairy-wrens by exploring the endocrine, genomic, and transcriptomic mechanisms of signal production. Previously, I studied breeding behavior of superb starlings in Kenya through Dr. Rubenstein’s lab at Columbia University.


John Jones, Ph.D. Candidate



My research focuses on determining the adaptive significance of mechanic underpinnings of phenotypic divergence in female fairywrens of Papua New Guinea and in flexible expression of ornamentation in male fairywrens in Australia. My main research interests lie in the interplay between behavioural endocrinology and the evolution of animal signals (i.e., color and birdsong). My previous research at Appalachian State University focused on chestnut-sided and golden-winged warbler interspecific aggression and misidentification as well as eastern bluebird/tree swallow interspecific competition.


Kaushik Narasimhan, Ph.D. Candidate


I am interested in the forest dynamics of neotropical forests, particularly in survival advantage afforded to rare genotypic individuals. My research aims to elucidate the proximate mechanisms of this advantage, including plant-macrobiotic interactions, immunological response and expression of immunological gene complexes, as well as the relative influences of other biotic and abiotic factors. For my Masters, I studied the community ecology of bats in the Peruvian Amazon in Dr. Liz Willey’s lab at Antioch University.


Annelise Blanchette, Ph.D. Candidate


I am broadly interested in animal behavior, ecotoxicology, and urban ecology. I study how environmental lead impacts the wildlife (namely the northern mockingbird and Anolis sagrei lizard) here in New Orleans behaviorally and morphologically. I also want to understand the genetic mechanisms of adaption that may allow local wildlife to cope with high-lead levels in their blood and tissues. I am co-advised by Dr. Alex Gunderson for his expertise in the Anolis lizard system. For my Masters, I studied the antipredator behaviors of aposematic and cryptic frogs in Costa Rica out of Dr. Ralph Saporito’s lab at John Carroll University.


Mike Ellis, Ph.D. Candidate


My research interests revolve around tropical ecology and evolution, primarily in western Ecuador where I have been serving as the Director of Research for Third Millennium Alliance (TMA), a conservation non-profit, since 2016. I’m most passionate about studying and conserving tropical avifauna. That passion led me to establish the Jama-Coaque Bird Observatory in northwestern Ecuador – a branch of TMA focused on advancing Ecuadorian ornithology, forest conservation, environmental education and community outreach. My dissertation research draws from data collected by both TMA and Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (FCAT) and will focus on anthropogenic and environmental drivers of avian abundance, diversity, turnover, extirpation and adaptation in a fragmented landscape.


Luke Anderson, Ph.D. Candidate


I am interested in sexual selection and evolutionary genomics. My research focuses on the white-bearded manakin (Manacus manacus), a lek-mating species of bird with high male reproductive skew. I hope to untangle the relative influence of genetic versus environmental factors on male mating success and investigate the consequences of strong sexual selection on the genome. Previously, I studied the role of female vocalizations in brown-headed cowbird courtship at the University of Pennsylvania.


Judith Santano, Ph.D. Student


I am broadly interested in investigating how anthropogenic stressors, such as deforestation, impact bird-mediated ecosystem services, such as pollination and seed dispersal. I hope to use avian communities as a lens to provide insight into ecosystem wide processes and changes. I am also deeply invested in community-based conservation, community engagement, and environmental education. I plan on combining my passions for research, conservation, and education while working in Ecuador with Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (FCAT). Previously, I’ve worked in a variety of systems which included investigating foraging ecology in the coral reefs of Mo’orea, French Polynesia with The Diversity Project.


Kai Guo, M.S. Student


I’m a 2-year Master student in EEB department who graduated from University of Wisconsin in 2020. I’m interested in avian behavioral ecology. My research interest focuses on how white bearded manakins interact and signal each other when a potential predator is identified. I’m also broadly interested in mobbing calls which is not a typical behavior for white bearded manakin, but a typical anti-predatory strategy for passerine birds in North America.


Galen Dolkas, M.S. Student


I’m interested in population dynamics of swamp forest birds in relation to habitat and the effects of tropical storm disturbance on bird populations. I aim to examine how bird populations in the Pearl River area responded to Hurricane Katrina and how vegetation structure and growth affected population levels. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Puget Sound and did research on feather microstructure variation in relation to ecology and morphology of owls with the Slater Museum of Natural History and Dr. Peter Wimberger. Before coming to Tulane, I spent three years in New Mexico doing nest searching and avian population surveys for the Bureau of Land Management.


Tanner Mazanec, M.S. Student


I’m in the second of my two year program in Masters of Ecology. I’m interested in wildlife conservation and management. I’ll be looking at herp population dispersion patterns in reaction to human disturbances in the Mache-Chindul reserve in Ecuador.


Vishal Narayan, M.S. Student


I am a first year master’s student in a 2-year thesis program. My interests broadly lie in population ecology, predator-prey behaviors, and anthropogenic stressors. I hope to study spatial dispersal of primary and secondary consumers and their effects on their community in Ecuador at the FCAT center. I would like to take my interests and knowledge gained from Tulane and apply it to repopulation efforts of species encroached upon by growing human development.


Kat Perkins, M.S. Student


I am a 2-year thesis M.S student interested in Neotropical amphibians and endangered species conservation. My research takes place in Ecuador at the Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (FCAT) and focuses specifically on frog population abundances across primary forest habitats and anthropogenically influenced pastures, and the distributional patterns of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd)


Katie Rompf, M.S. Student


I am a Master’s student interested in avian ecology and tropical ecosystems. My research is focused on seed-dispersal by White-bearded manakins (Manacus manacus) in the Chocó rainforest of Ecuador at the FCAT research station (Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales). Prior to my time at Tulane, I studied natural history and cannibalism in invasive Brown Widow Spiders, Latrodectus geometricus at Loyola University of New Orleans.


Thalia Williamson, M.S. Student


I’m a 1-year MS student broadly interested in how anthropogenic effects influence behavior of organisms as well as disease ecology. I’m co-advised by Dr. Hannah Frank, where I’m currently studying how land use type influences the prevalence of Bartonella in bats in Ecuador.




Eleanor Casement, Honors Thesis


I am a senior studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology. My honors thesis focuses on the distributions of fruiting plants in relation to white-bearded manakin leks, and I spent this past summer at the FCAT reserve in Ecuador collecting data for this project. I am currently abroad in Panama studying tropical ecology and marine conservation, and am looking forward to returning to Tulane for my last semester this spring! I am interested in marine biology, coral reefs, and tropical symbioses, and would ultimately like to pursue these topics in graduate school. Outside of school, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, backpacking, and scuba diving.


Jack Cohn


I’m a sophomore at Tulane majoring in environmental studies and environmental biology. I am interested in forest conservation and sustainable food production, although I am looking to explore other aspects of conservation as well. I am hoping to return to FCAT this summer or next summer and develop a more defined topic of research.


Olivia Davison, Honors Thesis


I am a junior studying Sociology and Environmental Studies. I am broadly interested in studying the sociology of conservation and I started working on my research at the FCAT station in Ecuador this past summer. I am working towards my honors thesis and I hope to put an emphasis on environmental justice, community engagement, and decolonizing knowledge.


Cecilia Hammond, Honors Thesis


I am a junior at Tulane majoring in Environmental Biology and Environmental Studies. During Summer 2021, I studied temperature differences across forested and agricultural land-use types at FCAT’s reserve in Northwest Ecuador. For my honors thesis, I plan on researching seedling survival as part of FCAT’s reforestation project beginning in Summer 2022.


Sloan Livaccari, Honors Thesis


I am a senior pursuing a dual degree in Environmental Biology and Environmental Studies. This past summer I collected data on fifteen different palm species at the FCAT station in Ecuador for my thesis. My honors thesis will hopefully form a broad community description of the phenology of palm trees in the Chocó Rainforest. I have a strong interest in tropical ecology and conservation, entomology, urban agroecology, and environmental justice. Previously, I have worked in various systems which included maternal bat colonies throughout Louisiana, island evolution in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and a community garden in Central City. Outside of my studies, I love to cook, read, dance, make art, and DJ for Tulane’s radio station WTUL.


Maggie Millar


I am a sophomore studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with an interest in either going to veterinary school or grad school to pursue my research interests. While I am currently working with Dr. Karubian to develop a definitive research focus, I am interested in research involving the mating and parental behaviors of American green kingfishers (genus Chloroceryle). I hope to assist other research teams in FCAT this coming summer while I work on defining my own research path.


Sarah Uher, Honors Thesis


I am a junior that has been working in the lab since my first semester freshman year, organizing samples, extracting DNA, and reviewing camera trap footage. This year, I play to develop my own research project, which will become my honors thesis. My interest broadly include botany, mycology, and pedology, which I developed while spending this past summer at the FCAT station in Ecuador. I plan on returning to Ecuador this summer to collect data for my honors thesis. When I am not doing school work, I enjoy spending time with friends, going on walks, reading, and doing art!


Lab affiliates


Tadeo Ramirez Prada

I am broadly interested in the patterns and drivers of life cycle events in flowering plants, and their consequences for demography, community composition, and ecosystem-level processes. My current research employs long-term phenological records to assess the drivers of reproductive synchrony and its consequences for reproductive success in Oenocarpus bataua, a hyperdominant canopy palm of the Chocó. Concurrently, I have employed seed trap records to assess the role of a dominant avian frugivore (Cephalopterus penduliger) in shaping patterns of α-diversity among dispersed seeds in this biodiversity hotspot.


Lorena Torres Martinez, Koch-Richardson Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a plant ecologist and evolutionary biologist that is interested in studying the evolutionary potential of plant species to respond to projected climate change conditions. Specifically, I seek to understand how gene flow can shape the main source for adaptive potential to occur in response to new environmental conditions: the amount and distribution of genetic variation throughout species ranges. Currently, I am the Koch-Richardson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary biology at Tulane University, in which I am designing and teaching two courses per year for graduate and senior undergraduate students -Plant Biology and adaptation (Fall semester) and Genomics and bioinformatics (Spring semester). In the Jordan Lab, I am working in collaboration with the PhD candidates Luke Browne and Zoe Diaz-Martin in understanding the fine-scale genetic structure of Oeonocarpus bataua, a native palm species to the tropical rainforest.


Olivia and Joaquin Karubian, Field operations

Olivia has a strong interest in fairy x princess reaction norms, and candy. Joaquin’s research focuses on dirt.


Lab Alumni



Ph.D. Students and Postdocs

Zoe Diaz-Martin (Ph.D., 2014-2020)
Brock Geary (Ph.D., 2012-2018)
Erik Enbody (Ph.D., 2012-2018)
Luke Browne (Ph.D., 2011-2017)
Samantha Lantz (Ph.D., 2011-2017)
Jenny Hazlehurst (Ph.D., 2010-2016)
Scott Walter (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2014)
Kym Ottewell (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2012)


Master’s Students

Peyton Fralick (+1 MS, 2020-2021)
Ace Spitzer (4+1 MS, 2020-2021)
Wendy Deng (+1 MS, 2019 – 2020)
Caitlin McCormick (4+1 MS, 2019 – 2020)
Akhila Gopal (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
AJ Pate (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Rachel Cook (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Jiawen Liu (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Emily Nonamaker (4+1 MS, 2016 – 2017)
Meredith Williams (4+1 MS, 2016 – 2017)
Nicole Moody (4+1 MS, 2014 – 2016)
Erik Iverson (4+1 MS, 2015 – 2016)
Roxanne Franta (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Malinda Chambers (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Nathan Frumkin (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Roxanne Franta (4+1 MS, 2013-14)
Tessa Roorda (MS, 2010 – 2011)


Undergraduate Students

Erin Sheehy (Honors Thesis, 2021)
Melanie Smith (Honors Thesis, 2021)
Zachary Ripich (Honors Thesis, 2021)
Caroline Camus (Honors Thesis, 2021)
Sarah Lueder (Honors Thesis, 2020)
Morgan Furlong (Independent Study, 2020)
Nathalie Clarke (IRES Fellow, 2020)
Margaux Armfield (Honors Thesis, 2020)
Lauren Hitt (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Kyu Min Huh (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Shayna Ross (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Samuel Leberg (Honors Thesis, 2018)
Trey Hendrix (Honors Thesis and NSF IRES fellow, 2018)
Toni Brown (NSF IRES fellow, 2017)
Darcy Gray (NSF IRES fellow, 2016)
Emma Saltzberg (Honors Thesis, 2016)
Michael Mahoney (Honors Thesis, 2016)
Miles Dawkins (Independent Study, 2016)
Erik Iverson (Honors Thesis, 2015)
Alex Gulachenski (NSF IRES fellow, 2014)
Nathan Frumkin (Honors Thesis, 2014)
Mitch Hinton (Honors Thesis, 2013)
Johnny Blanchard (Honors Thesis, 2013)
Kathleen Riley (NSF IRES fellow, 2012)